Algorithmic Declarations of Death in India: Burden of Proof for the Living | Technological Impact

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With the help of the Pulitzer Center’s AI Accountability Network, this article was produced. On September 8, 2022, 102-year-old Dhuli Chand led a wedding procession in Rohtak, Haryana, India. Despite being on his way to meet government officials, Chand was in his wedding finery, sitting on a chariot and wearing garlands of Indian rupee notes, accompanied by family members and villagers. His monthly pension had been stopped due to being mistakenly listed as “dead” in government records, a result of a newly built algorithmic system used by the state to determine eligibility for welfare claimants. This same system erroneously impacted hundreds of thousands of citizens, resulting in exclusion from welfare schemes. The government’s mandatory PPP program, which collects personal data to determine eligibility, has been met with controversy and complaints about its inaccuracies. Despite efforts to correct errors, recipients continue to struggle with the bureaucracy and red tape involved in restoring their benefits. The government has admitted to wrongful exclusions and altered records, but media reports suggest that errors persist. The vague workings of the program and lack of privacy laws have led to increased scrutiny, and the opposition party has vowed to scrap the program if elected. Despite the government’s claims of corrective action, many individuals continue to face challenges in reinstating their benefits.

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